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WSOP organisers thrilled with increased player numbers

Sign-ups for the 56 preliminary events in the current 41st World Series of Poker have significantly outstripped those over the past two years, with the registrations of 65,647 entrants this year so far (the Main Event numbers are yet to be added) easily eclipsing last year's 53,508 at the same point by some 22%.

"We're thrilled that poker enthusiasts from every corner of the globe have reinforced the WSOP's standing as one of the most popular competitive events anywhere," Ty Stewart, WSOP vice president said. "This year's turnout continues to show the players' passion for poker's biggest stage."

The Main Event will be adding significant numbers to the overall total, with WSOP officials revealing that over the first three days of the four-day entry window for the event, registrations are up 34%.

The last day for entries in the $10,000 buy-in main event was yesterday (Thursday) afternoon, when a field of 2,391 players started taking their seats at the Rio in Las Vegas.

The huge final entry field for Day 1D, which brings total main event entries to 7,319 players - up 12.7% on 2009 - generated a prize pool of some $68.8 million, sufficiently large to give the top ten percent of finishers significant cashes, and the winner a first prize of $8.94 million. That's well up on last year's prize pool of $61 million, which gave winner Joe Cada a prize of $8.55 million.

Given the trying times that poker has had to survive with a depressed world economy and legislative and enforcement challenges, the recovery of the game and its continued popularity is remarkable, although the WSOP numbers this year are still no match for the records set back in 2006. That year a field of 8,773 delivered a first prize to Jamie Gold of $12 million.

Tournament director Jack Effel revealed Thursday that 747 players will make money in the tournament.

Thursday's midday start saw a mixture of celeb, pro and amateur players all raring to go on Day 1d. Seen among the crowds were actors Jason Alexander and Shannon Elizabeth; NFL great Emmitt Smith; who gave the shuffle up and deal call, and former "The Real World" reality star Trishelle Cannatella.

Also reported by famous face spotters were Lyle Berman, George Danzer, Kara Scott, Ross Boatman, Vanessa Selbst, Noah Boeken, Andy Bloch, Hevad Khan, Jason Potter, Josh Arieh, Jonathan Little, Humberto Brenes, Barry Greenstein, Shawn Sheikhan, Ylon Schwartz, 97-years-young veteran Jack Ury, Jason Mercier, Sorel Mizzi, Bruce Buffer, Vanessa Rousso and Phil Ivey.

There were many more high profile names in the game in the sea of faces around the packed tables.

Level 5 was reached Thursday night and the chips bagged, with some 1,700 survivors of a day that had commenced with 2,391 hopeful entrants.

Steve Billirakis holds a comfortable Day 1d chip lead on 187,150, joining the chip leaders from the other Day 1 heats: Corwin Cole (228,200) from Day 1a, James Danielson (201,050) from Day 1b and Mathieu Sauriol (169,900) from Day 1c.

Eliminations on Day 1d included Phil Gordon, Brian Townsend, John Tabatabai, Justin Smith, Michael Craig, Jose Barbero, Steve Dannenmann, Joe Hachem, John Juanda, Allen Kessler, Cliff Josephy, Sorel Mizzi and Wendeen Eolis - the first woman to cash in a WSOP event back in 1986.

Survivors who will make Day 2 that much more interesting included David Benyamine, Bill Chen, Vanessa Rousso, Josh Arieh, Frank Kassela, Phil Ivey and Jason Mercier.

Numbers unaudited as InfoPowa went to press indicate that around 5,000 players from the four Day 1 heats will be competing in Day 2 action. Friday afternoon will see the survivors of Day 1a and 1c combining in Day 2a, whilst those who made it through Day 1b and Day 1d will combine in Day 2b as the large entry field is progressively reduced towards a final table of 9 players.

Source: InfoPowa News

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